Should you get a secured or unsecured card?


Making bad credit decisions now can cost you big-time in the long run. What do you do if you've got bad credit? Rather than paying some company to "repair" it, it's better to rebuild your credit by working with the companies you owe. One of the quickest ways to do that is to get a credit card--although obviously, that's easier said than done.

Luckily, you have options. There are two types of credit cards for bad credit: secured cards and unsecured cards. Secured cards require you to keep the equivalent of the card's limit on deposit with the card's issuer. So a secured card with a $250 limit requires you to deposit $250 with the bank that issued it; you'll get the $250 back once you close the account in good standing. The more common variety--the type issued to practically everyone with good credit--is the unsecured credit card, which doesn't have the same restriction. If you have bad credit, you can get an unsecured card, too, but there will be many strings attached.

So which type is best for you, if you're in this predicament?